10 Bold Predictions for Top DE Recruits in Class of 2014
The 2014 recruiting class has a great crop of defensive end prospects. Some are talented pass-rushers who have the tools to get after the quarterback, while others are strong defenders who can hold their ground against the run.
No matter what type of defensive end they are, all of them have bright futures. Making predictions on the future can be tricky, but the best thing to do is to be bold. With that in mind, it's time to make some eyebrow-raising predictions on the top defensive ends in the country.
Sack records will be broken, crazy comments will be made and many other wild predictions will be announced.
Lawrence Marshall Will Spend His Career Fighting to Get out of Hand's Shadow
Lawrence Marshall is a 4-star defensive end who is committed to Michigan. The Wolverines likely are excited for his pending arrival, as they need more rushers to get to the quarterback.
Marshall will spend his entire career as the "other" good defensive end in Ann Arbor.
Davon Godchaux Will Become an All-SEC Player...as a Defensive Tackle
A 4-star defensive end, Davon Godchaux is one of the top players in LSU's class. He is 6'4", 265 pounds and is strong on his feet.
Godchaux plays defensive end now, but his skill set will lead him to be moved to defensive tackle. His size, strength, power, heavy hands and ability to anchor versus running plays will be better assets in the interior part of the defensive trenches in Baton Rouge.
That is where Godchaux will hone his skills, add more bulk and develop into an All-SEC defensive tackle by the end of his junior season.
Denzel Ware Will Become Kentucky's Best Pass-Rusher as a True Freshman
Kentucky has a commitment from 4-star defensive end Denzel Ware, who plays in Florida. The 6'3", 220-pounder has good quickness out of his stance, bends easily around the pocket and explodes to the quarterback.
The Wildcats would love for several of their 2014 recruits to pay immediate dividends.
Ware will be one of them, as he will fit in perfectly as a sub-rusher for head coach Mark Stoops, and will notch eight sacks as a true freshman.
Solomon Thomas Signs with Stanford
Solomon Thomas is one of the hardest recruits to read in the country. He has many offers, plays things close to the vest and has many people hanging on the edge of their seats.
However, the 5-star prospect will sign with Stanford because he will realize that the 3-4 defense in Palo Alto is the best fit for him. He is 6'3", 256 pounds and has the tools of a classic 5-technique due to his strength, adequate quickness at the snap and ability to anchor.
When Thomas signs up to play on The Farm, do not be shocked.
Lorenzo Featherston Will Weigh 275 Pounds Before He Leaves College
At 6'7", Lorenzo Featherston is one of the tallest players in the country. However, the 4-star defensive end only checks in at 220 pounds.
Saying the North Carolina native is light in the pants is an understatement. Featherston has great athleticism, can shoot out of his stance at the snap and displays a great burst to finish on the ball. Yet, he lacks strength, power and bulk.
He will commit himself to the weight room in college—which will be Clemson—and will leave college weighing 275 pounds.
Malik McDowell Will Grow into a 320-Pound Defensive Tackle
McDowell has solid first-step quickness, good strength and flashes solid athleticism in pursuit.
He will sign with Michigan, where he will grow into a 320-pound defensive tackle. McDowell may not lead the Big Ten in sacks, but he will finish with 20 quarterback hurries and lead the Wolverines in tackles for loss in consecutive seasons.
Chad Thomas Will Have 20 Sacks Before the Start of His Junior Season at Miami
Miami will love 4-star defensive end Chad Thomas, as he is a homegrown talent who is explosive at the snap. Thomas, who is 6'5" and 240 pounds, has the makings of an All-ACC defensive end.
He surges off the ball, has the speed to beat offensive tackles on the edges and can chase down quarterbacks. Thomas will be a sensation in Coral Gables, as he will have 20 career sacks before the start of his junior season for the Hurricanes.
Myles Garrett Will Lead Texas A&M in Sacks as a True Freshman
At 6'4" and 240 pounds, the Texas native has great speed, quickness, agility and strength.
The Aggies defense has not exactly been impressive, so landing an impact player in Garrett will be huge. The talented recruit will arrive in College Station, learn the basics of Texas A&M's defense and lead the team in sacks as a true freshman next season.
Lorenzo Carter Will Sign with Alabama and Nick Saban Will Say He's 'Bama's Best
He shows good flexibility, quickness, agility, explosiveness and also has wiry strength. Carter will play the 3-4 outside linebacker/Jack 'backer role for 'Bama, which will make him a superstar.
As Carter goes into the NFL, head coach Nick Saban will call him the best pass-rusher he's had at Alabama, which is high praise.
Da'Shawn Hand Will Sign with Michigan and Win Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Da'Shawn Hand is one of the top overall players in the country, as the 5-star defensive end is a future stud. From Virginia, Hand is 6'4", weighs 254 pounds and can be dominant.
He has a great surge off the ball, is athletic when rushing the quarterback and also displays excellent strength at the point of attack. Hand is ready to play college football right now.
He will sign with Michigan, and his impact will be felt throughout the Big Ten. Hand will win Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2014, after winning a starting job and posting 11 sacks for the Wolverines as a true freshman.
2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map
The 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map can be used to locate and track all of the nation's top defensive ends, plus many other elite recruits! This mobile-ready tool is a great resource for recruiting fans!
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns.